Continuing their policy of offering free online access during important events, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times are both lowering their
online paywalls for coverage of the presidential election, the newspaper Web sites announced Tuesday morning.
The Wall Street Journal said it will give free access to all its online content for 24 hours beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, November 6, allowing non-subscribers to follow election returns and related political coverage, as well as general news and business reporting.
The New York Times will begin offering free access to its online election coverage, including its mobile apps, beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
Barring electoral mishaps, such as delayed or contested results, which are possible, non-subscribing visitors to the WSJ and NYT Web sites should be able to track the election from the first exit polls to a final result Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Last week, both newspaper Web sites offered several days of free online access during Hurricane Sandy, highlighting the continuing role of newspapers as civic institutions. Previously, the NYT provided free access during Hurricane Irene, which threatened New York City in August 2011.
Offering free access during major events can also boost online ad revenue and showcase the online product, wooing more potential subscribers. Circulation revenues from online subscriptions are an increasingly important part of the overall business for The New York Times Co., with online paywalls at the NYT and Boston Globe helping offset continuing declines on the advertising side.
In the first nine months of 2012, NYTCO’s circulation revenues increased 8.5% from $640.9 million to $695.2 million, while advertising revenues sank 7.1% from $665.5 million to $618.1 million.